New Adult Literacy/ESL Program at the Greenwood County Library

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When the Greenwood Literacy Council closed its doors last spring, it left a wide gap in the literacy/ESL services available to adults in Greenwood. The Greenwood County Library decided to help fill the gap when it hired Lois Strauss in January 2012. Ms. Strauss works part-time in the Library's Computer Lab and part-time as the Adult Literacy Coordinator. A literacy and ESL volunteer herself, Mrs. Strauss is familiar with many of the needs and goals of Greenwood County's adult learners.

According to Mrs. Strauss, "Adults come to the Library's Literacy/ESL program with a variety of goals. They need to attain or improve basic reading and writing skills. They want to get a job. They want to help their children." The program is volunteer-driven, and, so far, there are more students than volunteers. "The Library is a team player," said Mrs. Strauss. "The Library is collaborating with the ESL programs offered by South Main Baptist Church and La Puerta de Esperanza (sponsored by the Greenwood Community Church of the Nazarene). Students want more time to practice speaking and reading English than they can get at any one agency. We do a lot of cross-referring." Unlike the programs offered by the churches, the Library's program does not target only Greenwood's Hispanic Community. Other students in the Library's ESL program speak Russian and Vietnamese.

Adult learners must meet four criteria to participate in the Library's program:
• They must be at least 16 years old and not attending high school.
• They must be able to meet at least once or twice a week for 1 - 1 1/2 hours each time.
• They must commit to 6 months of tutoring.
• They must be a resident of Greenwood County.

For more information, contact Prudence A. Taylor, Director, Greenwood County Library, 864-941-4650 or ptaylor@greenwoodcountylibrary.org.

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